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How To Start An Etsy Shop With No Money (With Product Ideas!)

I have asked a good number of people, what is the main reason you have not started your own business yet. The most common answer was – Money.

You may even have guessed the answer.

Titus Maccius Plautus quotes “You must spend money to make money”. But as the internet and technology are evolving, this old quote does not hold true anymore.

In today’s era, you can make money without putting in any money. Interesting? You will be more intrigued when I share how you can do it.

It does not matter if you are a school or college-going student, a housewife, and mother of two children or a person with a 9 to 5 job.

So let’s dive into today’s article to know how to start an Etsy shop with no money. Yes, you heard that. No money!

How To Start An Etsy Shop With No Money?

Starting an online business is a dream for a number of people. The sad part is, many people are not even able to start their businesses because of the lack of money or no investment money.

But what if I tell you that you can start your own online business as an Etsy shop with no money?

It sounds exciting! Isn’t it?

But is that true or just clickbait?

As a successful etsy seller for the past 2 years, I can say that starting an Etsy business with no money is absolutely an achievable thing.

So what are you still waiting for?

Let’s make some pretty money with the help of the mentioned tips to start an Etsy shop with no money.

Choose Products That have a minimum to zero investment cost

The greatest low-cost or no-cost products which you will list on your Etsy shop are ones that can be produced using cheap resources and/or need little to no inventory.

Using zero-investment cost products will assist you in minimizing both your initial investment (which we want to be zero) and risk.

It could be really a challenging task to begin thinking about inexpensive product ideas. Where things become hard, I make that my duty and responsibility to help you out.

Here are some ideas which I have collected specially for you on minimum to zero-cost product/niche ideas to get you started:

Sell Digital Products

An excellent approach to launching a small business or setting up an Etsy shop on a tight budget (or no budget!) is to sell digital items.

Digital items are the items that can be made using a laptop or mobile can be sold in digital format like eBooks, Graphic Templates, Printable Designs, SVG’s, Resume Templates, etc.

  • Fun Fact: According to a recent research report, the global E-Book Reader Market in 2020 was approximately USD 30.69 Billion. The market is expected to surge at a CAGR of 3.7% and is anticipated to surpass USD 38.17 Billion by 2026.
    (Source: Mordor Intelligence)

The best part about digital products is that they do not require any shipping, maintenance, and inventory cost.

This is due to the fact that they are digital products that you can easily create using your laptop/ PC and simple design tools like Canva or Picmonkey.

You do not need any budget or investment money to start selling digital products online or to list them on your Etsy shop.

Just pick up your iPad or turn on your computer and design something or make something that you can sell.

Popular digital items for small-scale business owners include printables such as calendars, planners’ diaries, social media templates, and T-shirt SVG designs that can be used for print-on-demand purpose.

Sell DIY Items (Using Recycled Material)

Think about it. There are a number of extra materials and other things always available in our houses all the time.

Why don’t we use them to make our own products?

It is an excellent idea.

Yes, there is no doubt that you have to brainstorm a little to think about what you can use to make a selling-worth product.

  • Fun Fact: Total revenue for Etsy in 2022 reached $2.476B with an 11.07% increase year-over-year, proving how rapidly the handmade industry is growing on Etsy!

But it will be worth it in the end. You would not need any money because all the materials are in your house. Plus you do not have to give product-making charges to someone else.

Consider what you have laying around the house as an excellent place to start when coming up with product ideas. It may be leftover paint, woodworking scraps, fabric scraps, etc.

All of these are possible product concepts. For instance, the leftover fabric may be turned into cute little tops and bags, and paint and wood can be transformed into stylish home decor.

Make Products With Help Of Low-Cost Raw Materials

Finding the right type of raw materials for your product at a good price can be a little challenging.

But here is the trick. Go and search around your neighborhood or in nearby areas to see if there are any stores that are affordable and sell supplies at much lesser prices in comparison to other stores.

Although they may not have as many selections and varieties to choose from as other shops, they are excellent for choosing the right type of raw material without having to spend a lot of money.

You can also consider listing those projects on your Etsy shop which call for less expensive supplies. For instance, you can take sewing projects which only use a collage of leftover fabrics or paper crafts to be completed.

Obtain Supplies From Secondhand And Thrift Stores

You have certainly seen Instagram posts where someone paints a used cabinet they got from a thrift store to make it look modern, then sells it for more money.

  • Fun Fact: The popularity of thrift store shopping has also led to the rise of “thrift flipping” where people buy items at thrift stores and resell them for a profit.

By searching for prospective things in second-hand and thrift stores, you may do the same thing. You can generally alter or refurbish a lot of old kitchenware or home décor items.

Purchasing materials in this manner will be far less expensive than doing so while new.

Just remember to choose reasonably lightweight and tiny things to reduce future shipping costs.

Design Your Own Branding To Save On Graphic Designing Costs

Logo and Etsy banners are the two things that you have to add to your Etsy shop to give it a professional touch and it is important for branding as well.

When you are in your beginner era, logos and banners are sufficient for branding. You can do more of the branding once your sales start to increase and you start making money.

Let’s say you hire a designer to formulate your Etsy logo and banner. You have to pay them hundreds to thousands of dollars.

  • Do You Know: The average cost of hiring Graphic designers in the US typically charge between $25 and $150 per hour, with an average rate of around $50/hour.
    For a full-time, in-house position, the average salary for a graphic designer in the US is around $4,500 to $7,000 per month.

Why not reduce these costs by using free software and apps to create your own branding assets?

Canva is the best and most free (mostly!) software which you can use to make designs for your logo and banner.

There are millions of premade templates inside canva, just choose a template of your choice, make your customization and shape the banner according to your shop theme, save and upload on your Etsy store. And voila! It is done.

Make Good Use Of Your Smartphone By Clicking The Product Photos

Bought an expensive phone recently but now searching for setting up an Etsy shop for no money. Found guilty?

Do not worry about that because now your phone is going to help you out with your Etsy shop. You can also use it as an excuse next time your parents taunt you because you buy that phone.

It is certain that your Etsy shop will have to have your product photo. Buying an expensive camera to click the photos or hiring someone to click cool photos of your product can be really expensive.

Save money by clicking the photos of the products with your own phone camera. Today’s generation of phones have really great cameras and it is time to use them to earn some money.

Place your product on a flat surface or table with a solid colour (make sure the background is not too colourful). Make sure that natural light is falling on your whole or half product.

Now click on some amazing photos of your product. It is that easy!

Play with lighting and background to capture some best shots of your product to be listed. You can use cloth and paper to make different backgrounds.

Edit Product Photos On Your Own With Free Software

My favourite photo-editing software is Lightroom, out of all the software and apps available on the market.

Lightroom has been in existence for a long time now and has an intuitive interface that makes it easy for everyone to use it.

Professionals or people who have little idea of editing can modify their photos using the software’s sophisticated capabilities to their exact specifications.

Lightroom is, in my opinion, the finest alternative if you are searching for a dependable and simple approach to editing your images.

To change a mediocre product shot into a spectacular one, all you need is the free version of Lightroom. If you want more sophisticated editing features, you may subscribe to Lightroom’s paid version.

Lightroom comes with an Android and IOS app as well which makes it lot easier for beginners to edit the shots.

Another tool you may use (and will definitely love) to edit and enhance your product photos is Canva. Even the free version of Canva includes passable picture editing features.

One of the best benefits of using Canva is that you can edit your photographs by adding text and other components, inside the app only.

Editing your own photos rather than hiring someone to edit for you will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Use Handwritten Thank You Notes

When I open my parcel and find a handwritten thank you note or even a printed card with my name, it just makes my day.

  • Fun Fact: According to a survey, customers who received a thank-you note from a business were 3.5 times more likely to return than those who did not.

You are a beginner Etsy shop owner and do not have many sale’s happening. This means you have plenty of time to write thank you notes for all of your orders.

Writing thank-you notes adds a personal touch to the orders and trust me (speaking from my own experience) people love it.

You can level up the game of your thank you cards by addressing the customer’s first name. Write quirky, funny notes which make your customer share them on their social media profiles.

Free branding? Yes.

Handwritten thank you notes even on simple paper not only save on the printed thank you card cost but it helps you to build a loyal audience who will return to buy more products.

And who knows handwritten thank you notes could even be the reason you get your five-star review?


Is it worth it to sell on Etsy?

Selling on Etsy is worthwhile because it is one of the quickest, least expensive, and easiest methods to get your handmade goods online and are connected to a shopping cart feature.

In comparison to creating a website, it is also a low-risk choice. You may list multiple things for just a few dollars, create a professional-looking online store in a couple of hours, and avoid paying domain and hosting expenses.

Though there are high chances that you won’t be able to instantly gain from Etsy’s consumers.

But your existing customers on different platforms will have a method to shop and buy from you right away.

Who pays for Shipping Costs on Etsy?

The majority of the time, customers pay for delivery because it is included in the product’s price. The majority of Etsy stores add a separate, additional shipping fee to the cost of the product.

A new modification in the Etsy search algorithm, however, gives free shipping guarantees for goods that ship to the US and cost above US$35 a boost in search ranking.

‍As a result, many Etsy stores provide free delivery of their goods. But the price of the product now also includes the delivery expenses.

Even though it may appear that the seller is covering the cost of shipping, the Etsy customer is ultimately responsible for this cost. 

Final Thoughts

With the Etsy platform, you can make good money part-time or with your 9 to 5 job. It is easier than you think and you do not even have to invest any money.

Go around your neighborhood garage sales and thrift stores to find decent items to sell on your Etsy shop. You can renovate them a little to match the voice of your shop.

You can save a lot of money by making your Etsy shop logo and banner on Canva yourself. Click photos of the products from your phone and edit them with free software like Lightroom and Canva.

Happy earning!

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